Backpacking to the Enchanted Valley - Olympic National Park

By Jarrett Retz -June 12th, 2019

This will just be a brief trip report about a recent excursion with two of my cousins as we backpacked up the East Quinault River Trail into the Enchanted Valley. Below are some quick stats, information, notables, and pictures.

  • Two nights (June 7-9, 2019)
  • Total Mileage: 30.5 miles
  • Trailhead: Graves Creek Trailhead (No parking pass needed)
  • Permits/Fees: Backpacking permit cost: $54 ($8 a person per night + $6 permit fee)
  • Other:
    • Each of us had a bear vault, even though, they were not required because we didn't stay at the Enchanted Valley Camp. They can be rented for free at ranger station with purchase of permit.
    • Sign at ranger station warned of recent break-ins at trailhead
    • Did not feel that crowded. The backcountry camps were mostly full, but I felt there were less people than I expected to see.
    • Filtering water was easy. The river was clear and beautiful.

Day 1: Graves Creek Trailhead - Pyrites Camp

  • 11.0 miles total We took a detour down to O'Neill Creek Camp for a break and it added mileage to the day. Normally, Graves-to-Pyrites is only 9.5 mi
  • Elevation: +2,391 ft. -1602 ft.
  • Rain for the majority of the day
  • Trail is in really good shape. No downed trees to maneuver around. All bridges were intact and usable.
  • Camped at Pyrites Creek Camp[efn_note]There are two parts to this camp, one on each side of Pyrites Creek. It was crowded at the one that stayed at (the first one), but we didn't check the other side.[/efn_note]
    • Campfires O.K in firerings
    • Bear-wire available
    • No privy
    • Next to river for easy water filtration
  • Saw 5-8 elk between Pony Bridge and O'Neill camp.
  • Most people at Pyrites had tents, but I was able to make a hammock work.

Day 2: Pyrites Camp - Enchanted Valley - O'Neill Creek Camp

  • 12.3 miles total[efn_note]Hiked 0.5 miles past the chalet, adding to the trip, and we had to hike down to O'Neill Camp to end the day[/efn_note]
  • Elevation: +1,904 ft. -2,175 ft.
  • Partly Cloudy, great day to hike
  • Trail was in great condition. It is washed out at one area in the actual valley before the chalet, but it's easy to find the other side. There is a narrow foot bridge, which only has a railing on one side, as the trail enters the Enchanted Valley camp area that had me feeling a little nervous.
  • Camped at O'Neill Creek Camp, in order to make a short hike Sunday morning. We noticed other people who brought day packs (in addition to their multi-day packs), so they didn't have to haul ALL of their gear into Enchanted Valley, just to hike back out the same day. We did not have that foresight, hence we suffered a little, and it would have made sense because we were not staying overnight in Enchanted Valley.
    • Campfires O.K in firerings
    • Bear-wire available
    • YES, privy available[efn_note]Two rangers were digging a new privy hole while we were there. One came over, also very friendly, and checked our backcountry camping permits.[/efn_note]
    • Next to river for easy water filtration
  • Saw one coyote that appeared ahead of us on the trail before taking a detour off the trail. We also came across one Sooty Grouse on the trail that was a bit confrontational.
  • O'Neill Camp had fewer spots, but a couple great sites for a hammock setup (even though I was a little close to the bear wire).

Day 3: O'Neill Creek Camp - Graves Creek Trailhead

  • 7.2 milestotal
  • Elevation: +1,303 ft. -1,797 ft.
  • Blue sky the entire hike. Couldn't have had better weather.
  • Saw a female Sooty Grouse, which was a lot less confrontational.


Jesse taking a picture of me taking a picture of him